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MacDonnell, S M.1; Provost-Craig, M1; Richards, J1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2003 - Volume 35 - Issue 5 - p S323
G-15L Free Communication/Poster Biomechanical Performance Assessment

1University of Delaware, Newark, DE

The ability to complete triple and quadruple jumps in figure skating is increasingly determining competitive outcomes. A closed arm position during rotating jumps increases the angular velocity and spin rate. Therefore, upper body strength may contribute to a successful jump.

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To examine the correlation between upper body strength, power and body size with off-ice vertical jump height (JH) and off-ice angular velocities.

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Seventeen competitive female figure skaters were tested for shoulder adduction/abduction and flexion/extension strength and power at speeds of 300, 400, and 450 degrees/second. Peak torque, torque as a percentage of body weight, and average power were measured for all of the isokinetic tests. Off-ice angular velocities were calculated using high-speed, three-dimensional cameras. Trials were filmed at 180 frames per second for 3 seconds. Subjects took a 2-step approach, jumped, and spun attempting to complete a maximal number of rotations. Measurements included: maximal angular velocity (MAV), (JH), time in the air (TIA), revolutions in the air (RIA), and average angular velocity (AAV). Correlations were examined by a Pearson Product correlation matrix.

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No significant correlations were identified between the strength or power measurements and any of the angular velocities. However, off-ice MAV and AAV are only 78 and 80% of on-ice angular velocities. Both JH and TIA were correlated with RIA (P ≤.01). Age and BMI were also found to be inversely correlated with RIA respectively (P ≤.01); (P ≤ .05).

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Although the results do not indicate a relationship between upper body strength and power and MAV or AAV, it is thought that the off—ice spin rates were too slow to adequately evaluate this relationship. Results do indicate a need to maintain a compact body shape, which may partially explain the success of younger, smaller female skaters. Results also indicate that body shape (> BMI) will change with age-related developmental changes, which will lead to increased torso inertia.

©2003The American College of Sports Medicine